Page 668 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 9 March 2011

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this many years from the Chief Minister, is: “We can hardly be expected to deliver services when it is raining, when it is wet. We have had a wet summer. What do you expect us to do?”

People expect you to manage your finances better, they expect you to deliver core services to the suburbs of Canberra and they expect you to make that a priority rather than making a priority of your pet issues and the things you want to spend money on. There has been the money coming in. Canberrans pay a lot of tax and they deserve those core services to be delivered as a result of that.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (6.08): I thought it would be appropriate to briefly comment on the amendment of course but also on a couple of comments that have been brought up in the debate. The first one, from Ms Le Couteur, was that the opposition would be supporting this amendment. No, we will not be and we have not given any such indication that we will be supporting it.

As was put to me by email, if the amendment was to keep all the words of my motion but to change (2a) to “make public and promote”, that is what I said we would support. But we will not be supporting this watered-down motion which I do not think does justice to the severity and to the enormity of the issue and just how many people in Canberra are concerned about it.

They write to us because they love our city. They write to us because they think Canberra is a great city, but it could be even better. And they write to us because they have pride in our city, but they are frustrated because this government does not take it seriously. This government does not prioritise the basic urban services that we in Canberra should get for the fees, fares, rates, taxes and charges that this government keeps putting on the people of Canberra. Time and again, people tell me, whether I am out at shopping centres, doorknocking or through responses from letterboxing, that the mowing program has been let slip and core urban amenity is going downhill rapidly.

It is interesting that Mr Stanhope should harp on, through interjections, about a mislead. It is interesting that he should be moving an amendment to my motion, which says it was the wettest season since 1947-48. Is that so, Mr Stanhope? Just six days ago, you wrote to me and said:

The season has been the wettest since 1998 …

On 28 February, you wrote to me and said:

This season has been the wettest since 1998 and the weather has impacted in a significant way on the mowing program.

Which one of those is true, Mr Stanhope? You might like to get back to me about your letters of 28 February and 3 March and clarify exactly what you mean. Do you mean 1947-48 or do you mean 1998? If the costs are higher when it rains, then surely in the 10 years of drought there would have been savings. It is all very well to say that the mowing program has blown its budget this year, but what about the 10 years beforehand? Where are all the savings that were made in the 10 years beforehand? The fact is—

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